Chandigarh: Panjab University literally turned into the battleground when fee hike protest turned violent on Tuesday as agitating students clashed with the police, who had to resort to lathicharge, which left several police personnel and students injured. Many students were taken into preventive custody even as police registered a case of rioting and damage to public property against protesting students, police said here.
The trouble started when agitating students tried to forcibly enter the office of Vice Chancellor Prof Arun Kumar Grover on the campus to discuss fee issue as they were observing ‘PU Bandh’ against the recent fee hike. Police, which had barricaded the area, resorted to water cannons to disperse the students.
The police on Tuesday booked as many as 52 for indulging in violence on campus.
The situation turned violent when students allegedly started pelting stones and flower pots at cops, forcing the police to lob teargas shells and use cane charge, causing injuries to several students. Earlier, protesting students were also seen forcing shops to close. For several days, students have been protesting against the ‘arbitrary’ hike in the tuition fee announced by the PU Senate last month for Session 2017-18.
IMPACT OF FEE HIKE
In some courses, the fee hike was steep. In case of B Pharma course, the fee was raised from Rs 5,080 to Rs 50,000
In MA Journalism course, the fee was hiked from Rs 5,290 to Rs 30,000.
For PU’s dental course, the fee was increased from Rs 86,400 to Rs 1.50 lakh.
With students demanding a rollback of a fee increase, PU had justified the average 12.5 per cent hike while considering the financial condition of the university as the varsity anticipated a deficit of Rs 244 crore for the financial year 2017-18.
CITY SSP speaks
We resorted to using force after students turned violent,” said UT Chandigarh SSP, Eish Singhal, adding that vehicles of police were also damaged. “Five to six police officials have also sustained injuries,” he added.
PROTEST LEFT SEVERAL STUDENTS INJURED,
AS POLICE LATHICHARGED THEM BRUTALLY